Digging into DTC toys & games ecommerce best practice

By Joanna Perry
DTC Toys & Games Inviqa blog illustration

The Toys & Games category had the lowest average score in our recent direct-to-consumer (DTC) ecommerce research benchmarking 100 brands across 10 product categories based on the digital experience provided to customers. However, there was still a lot of good practice to be seen, and plenty that the less well-performing brands can learn about DTC Toys & Games ecommerce best practice.

In this blog series, we’re digging deeper into the individual product categories for additional insight into what brands in these categories are up against – both when it comes to their peers and the wider DTC ecommerce industry. The report – which is available for free download – provides many examples of improvement opportunities and explanation of why particular features and functionality supports different user journeys.

Aside from Lego, the top performing brand, Micro Scooters, Scalextric and Mattel all performed well in at least some areas of the benchmark. The other brands we reviewed are: Baby Born, Bandai, Dickie Toys, Playmobil, Ravensburger and Schleich.

Below, we outline where toys and games brands are not meeting best practice with the customer experience they provide on their DTC ecommerce sites, and some of the improvements they could make.

Lego’s leading DTC customer experience

Lego vastly outperforms its peers, coming top in the Toys & Games category as well as one of the top-scoring sites overall in the research. It achieved a 72% score against the 36 criteria in our benchmark scorecard. The average score for the category was 49.9% and the lowest score for a brand in the category was 35%.

Lego’s site serves the dual role of content and commerce platform well. The site is separated into a shop and a playzone destination that is marketed at children; the brand understands that it has two key audiences.
Exclusive product and bundles are offered, as well as a loyalty scheme. PDF instructions can be downloaded for all products, and there is an app to provide 3D guides for kids (and adults) struggling to build their latest purchases.

Lego also scored full marks for both the carbon footprint of its site and meeting mobile web accessibility standards – something only one other brand out of 100 included in this research achieved.

Content along the buyer journey

Content is an important component of a well-performing DTC website, however Micro Scooters was the only brand in the Toys & Games category to use all three types of content we were looking for along the buyer journey.

Micro Scooters used video to demonstrate its products and how to use them, and provided user generated content and informative articles and guides: all which help to give potential customers confidence in their purchase choices and hit the buy button.

The brand also offers a product recommendation tool providing an interactive experience for shoppers who need help with understanding which products meet their needs.

Improving online customer service

No brands in the Toys & Games category scored full marks in our customer service benchmark. We reviewed both their email support and live chat channel (if they had one) asking relevant questions that if answered well, would overcome a blocker to purchase.

60% of the brands met the benchmark for email customer service, providing a useful answer to a query via email within a day. Micro Scooters was the only brand to score full marks for its live chat service, providing an immediate and helpful answer to a query.

This was one criteria where toys & games brands lagged behind other categories, with only 20% of the toys and games brands offering a live chat service at all, compared to an average of 50% for all 100 brands included in the research.

Supporting omnichannel buyer journeys

Allowing consumers interested in your brand to find the most convenient place to view and purchase products in person remains a key user journey to support.

Yet a significant 60% of the toys and games brands we reviewed did not include a store or stockist locator on their DTC site. While not every brand included in the research has its physical stores in the UK, they all have stockists. The only site in this product category to score full marks for the way it displays store and stockist information was Lego.

We analysed whether brands had an easy-to-find store locator tool, and whether they published information about the stores – such as opening hours – which would help a prospective customer to plan a visit. We did not expect all DTC sites to be able to show information on range carried or stock levels, as this would require them to have access to stockists’ data.

Toys & Games underperforms on mobile web accessibility

Finally, and quite crucially as the brands’ websites are likely to be viewed by diverse audiences, most brands in the category did not score well against our mobile web accessibility benchmark.

Meeting web accessibility standards makes sites easier to use for all users, and is therefore something that we recommend all brands aim for.

We assessed multiple mobile page types for each brand reviewed. Only Scalextric, Bandai and Lego scored more than half the available marks for this criteria, with only Lego scoring full marks. In comparison, 40% of brands overall in the research scored more than half marks and 18% scored full marks.

As you can tell, there was a great variety in where brands scored well, and where they didn’t when it comes to providing exceptional DTC ecommerce expriences – showing that even the best-performing brands in our research still had areas where they could improve.

To read more statistics, insights and examples of DTC ecommerce best practice you can download the report for free now.